Parents in Pennsylvania who are heading towards divorce have another alternative when it comes to child custody: shared parenting. This custody system is standard in many countries around the world and has grown in popularity in the United States as well, especially amid the growth of dual-career families.
Shared parenting is a flexible system that is based on equal time with the children for both parents as well as equal and shared responsibility for decision-making. It is designed to foster strong relationships between the children and both of their parents as well as a positive co-parenting relationship.
In family courts in the United States, mothers are awarded sole custody in over 80 percent of child custody cases. When fathers seek custody, this percentage drops dramatically, indicating that in many cases this is viewed as the default form of custody. Instead, shared parenting looks toward equal time and equal responsibility as a default model in all divorces or separations.
A number of studies have shown that shared parenting has positive psychological and physical effects on children, who benefit from close relationships with both of their parents. It benefits mothers, who have equal time to pursue their careers and engagement in the workplace as well as fathers, who can maintain a strong, loving bond with their children on a permanent basis, rather than simply seeing each other every other weekend. This custody model has found a significant amount of support in the United States, with at least 25 states considering legislative reform to mandate shared parenting as a default custody choice in the family courts.
A family lawyer can provide important guidance and representation to a parent in a divorce, child custody or child support case. It is important to have legal representation to protect the best interests of the child and ensure a positive outcome for all parties. Even in an amicable divorce, a family law attorney can play an important role in shaping a parenting plan that meets all requirements of state law.